Sticky oil connections
It's not about oil. Right!
Ever since former oil-man George W. Bush came to the White
House, well before September 11th, his administration was
announcing that the US faced an energy-supply crisis. Although
there is little evidence to support this, Bush made it a
cornerstone of his policies.
Coincidentally, Iraq has the second largest proven reserves of
oil in the world, but its production has been severely reduced
since the Gulf War, due to effects of economic sanctions and the
destruction of infrastructure. Rebuilding that infrastructure and
increasing production will take years. Oil executives hungrily
eyeing those reserves are enthusiastic to take on that work.
And they've never had such close ties to the White House. For
Vice President Dick Cheney, this may well be round two for his
post-war dealings with Iraq. Cheney is a former head of
Halliburton, the world's largest oil service contractor. In August
2000 Cheney publicly stated that, as the head of Halliburton, "I
had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even
arrangements that were supposedly legal." And yet, as the Financial
Times eventually proved, Cheney oversaw $23.8 million in sales to
Iraq in 1998 and 1999.
President George W. Bush's oil company ties go back to his
grandfather. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice sat on the
board of Chevron, and recently had a tanker named after her. (Find
out about more "Big Oil" links to the White house from Salon.com.)
Top oil analyst Dr. JJ Traynor of Deutsche Bank sees the US's
largest and undoubtedly most politically influential company,
ExxonMobil, as being in "pole position" to take full advantage of a
regime change in Iraq. (Find out more from www.stopesso.com.
ExxonMobil has worked hard to ensure demand for oil by
pressuring the US government into abandoning its commitments to the
Kyoto Protocol on global warming. During the 2000 election cycle,
ExxonMobil gave $1,375,250 to political campaigns - second only to
Enron among oil and gas company campaign contributions. Of this
total, 89 percent went to Republican candidates. By undermining
efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ExxonMobil prolongs
US's oil dependence and prolongs its entanglements with often
politically unstable oil producing countries.
However, unlike its French, Russian and Chinese counterparts,
ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, has had to stay away
from Iraq due to the US political situation in the last ten years.
Exxon previously owned 25 percent of Iraqi oil fields and a new war
with Iraq would again open up access to Iraq's large oil
Holes in Bush's cover story for the war
Though it's no secret that the White House cozies up to oil
executives, declaring war on Iraq required a bit of a cover story.
The "War on Terror" launched in the wake of September 11th was the
perfect vehicle. With the world reeling from the threat of more
chaos and destruction, Iraq was quietly slipped into key speeches.
Bush quickly diverted attention from Osama Bin Laden to Saddam
Hussein and now the hunt is on for his weapons of mass
The US is prepared to negotiate with North Korea, which has a
known capacity to develop nuclear weapons, domestic sources of
enriched uranium and production capability for plutonium. But the
US is preparing to invade Iraq -- despite the absence of evidence
of any nuclear weapons program.
Bush calls them both "evildoer" states, so why the double
A quick look at the US's own policies on weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) quickly dispels their argument for using WMD as a
determining factor for a war with Iraq.
As a signer of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the
US has a legal obligation to reduce it's nuclear arsenal, stop
nuclear testing, and negotiate a binding a treaty on nuclear
disarmament under strict international control. However, the
current US administration is increasing its budget to build nuclear
weapons, scrapping existing disarmament treaties, and restarting
One of the first acts of the Bush administration was to propose
deep cuts in funding for programmes safeguarding and destroying
nuclear weapons and materials in the countries of the former Soviet
Union. While Congress rejected those cuts as too drastic,
investment in new nuclear weapons continues to grow while more
money is needed to dismantle weapons and keep existing weapons
"safe and secure."
The Bush administration's prevalent tendency to ignore, abandon,
or destroy international treaties is especially evident with regard
to arms-limitation agreements:
-- In December 2001, President Bush torpedoed talks to give the
Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) real force. A last minute
refusal after five years of negotiations infuriated negotiating
-- At the NPT review conference in 2000, the US and the other
signatories agreed to end nuclear weapons testing by bringing the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force as the first of 13
specific disarmament commitments. Shortly thereafter, the US Senate
announced disapproval of the treaty. Last year the US said it no
longer agreed with the additional commitments, putting the
Non-Proliferation Treaty's future in jeopardy.
-- The Bush administration has also reneged on an additional
commitment to strengthen the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty by
pursuing its Star Wars missile defence programme. The programme is
one of the primary reasons that international talks to rid the
world of weapons of mass destruction have not progressed for the
last three years. It also provides an excuse for other nations to
improve and increase their nuclear arsenals.
Overall, Bush's weapons of mass destruction policy is arbitrary,
hypocritical, and inconsistent. The world desperately needs a
multinational and fair approach to the elimination of weapons of
mass destruction. A war with Iraq will only serve to strengthen the
What you can do
If you believe that George Bush's war stance is based on
hypocritical arms policies and sticky oil connections, make your
the UN ambassadors that sit on the Security Council and ask them to
uphold international law and refuse to approve a war in
-- Write to
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and ask him to oppose war in Iraq and
to refuse to allow UK troops to be used in such a war.
-- If you live in the US, consider calling on your city council
to pass a resolution against a war with Iraq. Twenty cities across
the US have already passed similar resolutions and efforts are
underway in dozens more communities. For more information, visit,
-- Join our campaign against ExxonMobil/ Esso, the world's
biggest oil company. For more information, visit www.stopesso.org.
-- Get more ideas for getting involved from www.moveon.org , www.protest.net and www.targetoil.com.